When Are Electors Chosen? The Electoral College Members Have To Go Through A Selection Process, Too
As our country approaches one of the most momentous Election Day's in modern history, the details of the actual voting process are on minds once again. While Americans are encouraged to practice their civil duty to vote for the President of the United States come Nov. 8, it is important to understand just how those votes are counted and who is actually doing the voting, the responsibility of which goes to the Electoral College. On Election Day, Americans are technically voting for their party to win the vote in their state, so that state's electors can vote then for president. But, when are electors chosen and how does one get this important job?
There are a total of 538 electors in the Electoral College who will be casting their vote in the election. The number of electors each state has corresponds to the number of House representatives that state has, plus two more electors to correspond with the two U.S. senators each state has. (D.C. also has three electors.) In order for a president to win the election, they must receive 270 electoral votes, so every state and their electors are integral to the process.
Electors are generally chosen by their state political parties in the months leading up to Election Day. According to The Huffington Post, these electors are usually nominated during their state party conventions and are "usually state-elected officials, party leaders, or people with a strong affiliation with the Presidential candidates." In some states, electors are nominated at the primaries.
Electors are generally people who are very involved in their respective parties and there aren't very many other requirements beyond that to be nominated. Per the Constitution, the only qualifications a prospective elector must have is that they not be a member of Congress, "a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of 'trust or profit'" or someone who has engaged in rebellion against the United States, naturally.
While each state varies some in their selection process, they will all end up with a slate of electors for each party candidate by the time Election Day rolls around. In some states, the chosen electors will appear on the ballot underneath their party's candidate, while some are not, but it is important to understand who the electors are and how they are involved in the voting process.
Once a candidate wins a states popular vote, those electors pledged to the candidate gather at their state's capital on the Monday following the second Wednesday of December to cast their official votes to be sent to Congress, to be counted by January 6, 2017, where the next President and Vice President of the United States are officially named.